A bechamel sauce is a classic French white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It is started by making a roux of butter and flour then slowly adding in hot milk or cream then seasoned with salt and pepper. One of the most versatile sauces, I’ll show you how to make an easy and classic béchamel sauce. This sauce is smooth, silky, velvety, and creamy.
It is delicious as is or can be transformed into so many different sauces. Pour this creamy white sauce recipe over the vegetables or potatoes for a delicious twist on these classic sides.
What Is A Bechamel Sauce – The Rich History
Bechamel sauce is a white sauce made from roux, milk, and seasonings. It is one of the five mother sauces in French cuisine. The sauce is named after Louis de Béchameil, the French steward to King Louis XIV. Béchameil is credited with creating the sauce in the early 17th century.
The sauce was originally made with butter, flour, and chicken stock. However, over time, milk became the preferred liquid for making the sauce. Bechamel sauce is a versatile sauce that can be used as a base for many other sauces, such as Mornay sauce and Alfredo sauce. It can also be used as a topping for vegetables, chicken, and fish.
Bechamel sauce is a simple sauce to make, but it can be tricky to get the consistency right. The roux should be cooked until it is light golden brown, but not burnt. The milk should be added slowly to the roux, stirring constantly to prevent the sauce from curdling. Once the sauce is thickened, it can be seasoned with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Bechamel sauce is a classic French sauce that has been enjoyed for centuries. It is a versatile sauce that can be used in a variety of dishes.
Bechamel Sauce Is A Base For So Many Sauces
Bechamel sauce is a white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk. It is a basic sauce that can be used in many different dishes. Some derivatives of bechamel sauce include:
- Mornay sauce: Bechamel sauce with cheese, such as Parmesan or Gruyère.
- Velouté sauce: Bechamel sauce with chicken or vegetable stock.
- Hollandaise sauce: Bechamel sauce with butter, egg yolks, and lemon juice.
- Espagnole sauce: Bechamel sauce with brown stock.
- Tomato sauce: Bechamel sauce with tomatoes.
- Alfredo sauce: Bechamel sauce with cream and Parmesan cheese.
What Dishes Use A Bechamel
- mac and cheese
- cheese sauce
It is a basic sauce that can be used in many different dishes, such as lasagna, macaroni and cheese, and chicken pot pie. It is also a good base for other sauces, such as cheese sauce and cream sauce.
Ingredients To Make An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe
- 4 tablespoons of salted butter
- 4 tablespoons of flour (all-purpose)
- 3 cups of whole milk (I use half & half)
- Salt and black pepper
For a thinker sauce add less milk, for a thinner sauce add more milk.
Instructions On How To Make An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe
1. Make A Roux
Begin by making a roux in a medium saucepan. Measure the flour and equal parts butter. Melt butter over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Let the mixture bubble to cook out the raw flour taste, whisking it constantly for a couple of minutes.
- pinch of nutmeg
- chili powder for a kick
- stone ground mustard
- bay leaf
- white pepper
- dried herbs
- chopped fresh herbs
A roux is a mixture of flour and fat cooked together until it forms a smooth paste. It is used as a base for sauces, gravies, and soups. Roux is typically made with butter or oil, but other fats such as lard or bacon fat can also be used. The flour and fat are cooked together over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns golden brown.
The color of the roux will determine the flavor of the finished dish. A light roux will give a delicate flavor, while a dark roux will have a richer, more intense flavor. Roux can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
3. Warm The Milk
Milk is one of the key ingredients in a béchamel sauce and is a good source of calcium and protein. It also contains vitamins A and D. Milk provides the sauce with its creamy texture and richness. Start with whole milk or half and half (which is a mix of whole milk and heavy cream). Place the milk in a measuring cup and heat until the milk is warm. If using cold milk, there is a risk of lumpy sauce.
Slowly add the warm milk in a steady stream into the roux. The milk is whisked constantly as it is added to the roux to prevent it from curdling or becoming lumpy. Turn the heat to medium-low and bring to a slow simmer.
4. Finishing The Bechamel Sauce
Simmer the milk mixture over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes whisking frequently. The milk can easily scorch on the bottom of the pot but mixing often can prevent this. You could also use a heavy bottom saucepan like cast iron for more even heating. Cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon.
This sauce is forgiving. If the milk isn’t quite warm enough or you add it too quickly- lots of whisking will give you a perfect texture and a smooth sauce.
Transforming A Bechamel Sauce
Cheese Sauce- add in some freshly grated cheese, stir, and pour over noodles or vegetables. Makes the best mac and cheese! (my favorite way)
Sausage Gravy- make the classic bechamel and add cooked ground sausage. Serve over biscuits.
Gravy- make the roux and substitute veggie/chicken/beef stock for the milk. Use less liquid for the desired consistency.
Tips On How To Make An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce
- Use a heavy-bottomed saucepan to prevent the sauce from scorching.
- For a richer flavor, use whole milk or heavy cream instead of regular milk.
- You can add other flavorings to the sauce, such as nutmeg, garlic, or herbs.
- Bechamel sauce can be used as a base for other sauces, such as cheese sauce or mushroom sauce.
- It can also be used as a dip for vegetables or as a topping for pasta or rice.
Wrapping Up How To Make An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe
An easy and classic bechamel sauce adds a beautiful richness and helps create a great starting point for many favorite recipes. Mix in some sharp cheddar cheese to make a DELICIOUS sauce for Mac & Cheese. Try out that recipe here and see how a basic white sauce can make an irresistible dish.
Bechamel sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months.
How To Make An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe
Check out the printable recipe card!
An Easy And Classic Bechamel Sauce Recipe
- 4 tbsp Butter Salted
- 4 tbsp Flour All-purpose
- 2 cups Half & Half
- 1 cup Whole Milk
- Salt and Pepper to taste 1/8-1/4 tsp
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Whisk constately for a couple minutes to cook the raw flour.
- Add in salt, pepper, and any other spices you choose.
- Warm the milk and half and half until at least room temperature but not boiling.
- Slowly pour in the milk while whisking. Heat to a simmer over medium-low heat stirring frequently. Cook about 3-4 minutes.
- The sauce is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.
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